Mid-career from State Dept. to MBB London

CV London MBB mid-career UK
New answer on Jun 24, 2021
4 Answers
1.3 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jun 23, 2021

Hi all, I'm relatively new to the consulting application process, and while I've been doing a lot of reading and watching YouTube videos and the like, I'm still trying to get a sense of whether applying to MBB is realistic for me and also looking to get some clarity on how to format my CV. My stats are as follows:

- American with right to work in the UK, already living in the greater London area.

- Previously worked as a diplomat for the U.S. Department of State (basically our version of the Foreign Ministry, for anyone not familiar) for a decade. My career focus was consular affairs, so things like passports, visas, preventing fraud, malfeasance, human trafficking, and the like- lots of managing teams, lots of interfacing with the public, and a lot of logistical work in terms of moving people through the visa process and physically through our facilities. I served at embassies and consulates in four different countries (and received intensive language training before each posting).

- No Ivy League/Oxbridge background, although I'm not sure if that matters as much as a mid-career applicant. Also no MBA, although I hold a Master's in Politics from a Russell Group university.

So, to my questions. First, is my background something that would be of interest to an MBB firm? I'm particularly interested in McKinsey after a really positive conversation with a fellow former diplomat about his experiences there, but I plan to apply to all three. Secondly, I keep seeing guidance about how to format a CV for MBB, but most of it is coming from a US perspective. Here in the UK, CVs are generally much longer (think multiple pages including a person's entire work history). If I'm applying to the London offices of these firms, would I be better served by taking an American approach and making my CV as succinct as possible, or should I submit a longer CV, as would be typical here in the UK?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

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Best answer
replied on Jun 23, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Hi A!

Here my thoughts on the two questions:

Profile: It might be interested, but you want to highlight the experience that is relevant for the MBBs. Things like solving complex problems, managing relationships to key stakeholders, working under stress and being forced to prioritize rigorously. The way you describe your profile now can also be interpreted as that you were the supervisor that manages the clerks that actually stamp people's passport. Such profile would not be attractive to MBB, so you want to be very clear about your experience.

CV: Clear answer: Submit a 1-page CV that highlights your relevant experience. Focus on achievements, less on activities. You can also post your CV here (can be anonymized) and ask people for feedback. But google "Consulting CV" and prepare a strong version before that so people can focus on what will be really helpful to you, rather than the basics.

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Henning on Jun 23, 2021

One other thought: You have a lot of work experience (10years), so you want to show steady and strong career progression with regular promotions and growing responsibility for scope and colleagues.

Content Creator
replied on Jun 24, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


I would need a few more details -ideally to look at your CV- to tell you a more educated guess, but honestly, I don´t see any red flag why they wouldn´t be interested in your profile. 

Why don´t you write your CV according to consulting guidelines -you have great templates here in PrepL- and post it here sanitized for a review? That would for sure give you more input. 

Hope it helps!



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replied on Jun 23, 2021
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

It's hard to say without knowing the specificities of your profile but I don't see why not. I know a number of former diplomats who are/have worked at McKinsey London, although many did have an MBA and/or do their undergrad studies at oxbridge. 

McKinsey London definitely goes for a simple 1-2 page CV. 

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Content Creator
replied on Jun 24, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

My answer is going to be short and sweet :)

  1. You should always take on the format of the office in which you're applying
  2. We don't know enough of your background, but you have enough experience for me conclude your odds are not 0
  3. Maximize your odds by networking (ideally getting a referral in the process)

Good luck!

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Henning gave the best answer


Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate
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